Category: Church

3 Church-Lessons from the "Friendly Atheist"

Last Friday night, I had a public dialogue with Hemant Mehta—the “Friendly Atheist.” He has a popular blog, YouTube channel, and podcast. The Conversation is already up on the Unbelievable? YouTube channel.

I was tempted to write a post in response to some of the topics that came up in our conversation. After all, we discussed the intersection of science and Christianity, whether atheists are motivated to believe in God because of a traumatic experience, the nature of faith, and so on. Maybe I will write that post when the podcast releases next week.

But for now, I think this post may be more interesting and productive.

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When Theology is Dangerous

I love studying theology. I teach a New Testament theology class at Talbot School of Theology, speak on theological issues at Summit Ministries, and teach a high school systematic theology class at a private school in Orange County. Along with philosophy, theology is one of my favorite topics to study. And I wholeheartedly believe that learning theology is vital for spiritual growth.

But theology can also be dangerous. My concern is not with theology per se. In fact, good theology is critical for avoiding dangerous doctrines and preventing error (Titus 1:9). I wish the church would invest more time and resources in teaching good theology. I am convinced many young people disengage the church because of bad theology.

My concerns here are with the way we teach—or often fail to teach—theology.

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New Age Beliefs Are Common in America–and in Our Churches

The Story: According to a new survey, New Age beliefs are common in America, even among people who are highly religious in traditional ways.
The Background: A new Pew Research analysis looks at beliefs and behaviors that cut across many denominations producing a new and revealing classification, or typology, of religion in America. The new typology sorts Americans into seven groups based on the religious and spiritual beliefs they share, how actively they practice their faith, the value they place on their religion, and the other sources of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.
Included in the survey was a question about whether people held certain New Age beliefs…

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5 Tips From the Early Church Fathers

Coming up on the one year anniversary of writing for A Clear Lens, I have to admit that I’m still humbled that so many are still reading and sharing my very first piece: “The First Apologists and Why They Still Matter.” In it, I detail the similarities between the obstacles they faced, with the obstacles of today.
My first big introduction to the works of the first church fathers was in “Testimonies” by Rev. Thomas Browne, MA. It was an awesome look into the lives of our spiritual forefathers. Ever since then, I’ve been devouring anything I can get my hands on regarding the early church.
Here are five things I’ve learned from reading the works of the early church fathers…

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A Sober Warning from the Earliest Christians

When I was a kid, my family once watched a movie that included vivid scenes of persecution against the earliest Christians. I remember lying awake at night, terrified by these images of Christians burning in the streets and being fed to the lions. I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the place of those beleaguered believers. At the time, I assumed they were being persecuted simply for being Christians, but as I’ve studied early church history, I’ve come to realize it’s not quite so simple. And as simplicity gives way to reality, I see there are some important lessons we can learn today through that early church persecution…

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Michael Horton: They need more apologetics than pizza

We have to stop taking the young people in our church for granted. They are not “The Church of Tomorrow,” but part of today’s church, the sheep Christ calls us to feed and care for. They need more apologetics than pizza, more opportunities for genuine questioning and having their questions answered than rock concerts…

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Your Kids Will Likely Have No Idea How to Choose Their Own Christian Church as Adults…and That’s a Problem

I grew up mostly in non-denominational churches, with a Baptist church or two thrown in. For all intents and purposes, my understanding of the world was that there were two types of churches: Christian and non-Christian.
Easy peasy.
If you gave me a label maker, I could have visited every church in town and promptly placed “Christian” or “non-Christian” on each one based on my simplistic understanding.

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